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Erhun Oztumer's future in doubt at Walsall after contract revelation

Sport | Published:

Erhun Oztumer's Walsall future is in doubt after it was revealed he has not signed a contract extension currently on the table.

The 25-year-old has been revelation for the Saddlers since joining on a free transfer from Peterborough last summer and ended the campaign as the club's top scorer on 15 goals.

Oztumer has one year remaining on his existing deal at the Banks's.

But Walsall may be forced to cash in now if he sees his future elsewhere – with boss Jon Whitney hinting out of contract goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is also unlikely to sign a new deal.

"I offered Ozzy (Oztumer) a new contract four months ago," Whitney said. "I've offered other players who are contracted new contracts.

"Neil Etheridge is one that was offered a new contract. But I also have to face the fact that Neil has probably been offered six or seven times what he earns here.

"And that's because he's done really well. Sometimes, we too easily turn on our players.

"For me, Neil has given great service to the club. He stayed this year when he didn't have to, he's pushed on again and he's a real top, top keeper and the guy has to do it right for him when he's on top of his form.

"He has to look after himself and earn his money. He's not someone who is driven by money but he wants to play at the highest level he can."

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Whitney believes the financial muscle other clubs enjoy means Walsall will always see players moving on.

"We've got to face what we are – we are a developing club," he continued.

"We develop young players, help them become the finished article and then other people come and cherry-pick them. We're a club where people are going to move on."

"I think any fan, if we are honest, if you wake up and someone is offering you eight times your wage, I would ask if any of them would say no.

"That's me being honest as a manager. I have to be realistic what I've got to try to aim for. This club is a developing club and we have to keep trying to push as high as we can but I can understand players as well."

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